Former NFL-player plaintiff alleged TBI from rear-end bus accident (California)
A former NFL player was rear-ended by a bus and alleged traumatic brain injury and TBI-related cognitive deficits he attributed to the accident. The plaintiff had an extensive pre-accident history, including previous concussions from football, a severe car accident, a history of chronic illnesses, and advanced age. The plaintiff offered a PET scan purported to demonstrate abnormally low activity in parts of his brain. Challenged admissibility of all PET scan images and opinions under California’s Frye-Kelly standard. Settlement reached after close of discovery and before Frye hearing.
PTSD and TBI claims by parent and child involved in highway collision (Wyoming)
Mid-twenties parent and minor child were passengers on charter bus involved in highway-speed collision with tractor-trailer. Both alleged severe PTSD and traumatic brain injury. Neither had TBI symptoms in the acute period. Filed Daubert challenges to diagnoses and causation opinions of plaintiffs’ psychologist and neuropsychologist, who were not provided with relevant medical records and who failed to account for significant alternative explanations of neuropsychological testing results, including parent’s chronic polysubstance abuse, domestic violence affecting both plaintiffs, and psychological effects of a house fire. Resolved following Daubert hearing.
Severe brain injury and psychological injury alleged from school bus fall (Massachusetts)
Parents of child who fell into aisle during school bus sudden stop alleged severe traumatic brain injury and permanent psychological consequences (mental regression, violent outbursts, pulling out hair) and sought damages for life-long inpatient care. Analysis of extensive medical records reflected no brain-injury symptoms during acute period following the accident, established a multitude of pre-existing psychological conditions, including reactive-attachment issues explained by traumatic childhood, and revealed plaintiffs’ use of HIPPA to modify acute-care medical records. Presentation of explanations for symptoms unrelated to accident resulted in settlement for fraction of demand.
PET scan-based TBI claim added years after bus vs. pedestrian accident (Ohio)
A turning shuttle bus struck a pedestrian crossing the street. The plaintiff alleged a jaw injury until, three years after the accident and the same day as her deposition, her attorney sent her for a PET scan not medically indicated according to her own expert. Based in part upon the opinion of a nuclear medicine doctor who invented his own mathematical formula for interpreting PET scan data, the plaintiff added a TBI allegation. Settlement was reached days after filing a complex Daubert motion to exclude all PET scan evidence at trial.
Plaintiff with extensive pre-accident injuries attributed cognitive decline to accident (Louisiana)
An SUV driver who was texting struck a high school student alighting a school bus. The plaintiff was hospitalized, alleged severe traumatic brain injury, and sought damages for permanent inability to work and potential for lifelong assisted living. The case involved multiple neuropsychological evaluations and advanced neuroimaging, including diffusion tensor imaging (DTI). Retained to determine extent of plaintiff’s cognitive decline following the accident, because extensive pre-accident history included hypoxic brain damage at birth, previous blast injury, lead poisoning, decades of chronic domestic abuse, drug use, and previous inpatient psychiatric treatment for hallucinations and suicide and homicide attempts. Consulted with defense counsel to challenge plaintiff’s experts and limit their opinions.
Allegation of moderate brain injury from highway rear-end accident (Colorado)
The plaintiff was a passenger in a stopped vehicle rear-ended by a truck at high speed. She was allegedly looking over her shoulder at the approaching truck when the accident occurred. Despite few symptoms following the accident, the plaintiff’s experts opined that she sustained at least a moderate brain injury and brachial plexus damage. Defense case focused on plaintiff’s extensive use of high-powered pain killers, a factor affecting the plaintiff’s cognition but not considered by her expert. Further, the plaintiff’s neuropsychologist invented his own neuropsychological test and method for analyzing neuropsychological test data.
TBI and DAI diagnoses alleged from truck-into-car accident challenged under Daubert (Georgia)
The plaintiff stopped her car in congested highway traffic and was rear-ended by a jackknifed tractor-trailer, which pushed her car into the car ahead. The plaintiff treated with a well-known neuropsychologist, who opined that his neuropsychological testing could not only identify cognitive deficits, but also identify the accident as their cause. The plaintiff’s medical and biomechanical expert assumed the traumatic brain injury he was asked by plaintiff’s counsel to support and departed from accepted diagnostic criteria in opining that the plaintiff sustained diffuse axonal injury (DAI). Following complex Daubert challenges to both experts and before scheduled Daubert hearings, the case settled.
Family surprised by own expert’s “discovery” of moderate brain injuries after rear-end collision (Florida)
A tow truck rear-ended a small passenger vehicle carrying a family of five. The plaintiffs alleged minor injuries until they began treating with a known plaintiff’s neurological expert. He administered quantitative electroencephalography (QEEG) and “discovered” moderate brain injuries in most of the family—to the surprise of family members. Assisted local defense counsel with technical cross-examination questions for the plaintiffs’ brain injury experts and focused on the expert’s failure to use appropriate diagnostic criteria to diagnose TBI and on unreliability and inadmissibility of TBI diagnoses based upon QEEG.
Post-traumatic vision syndrome and post-traumatic headache diagnoses after tanker-truck rollover (Ohio)
The driver of a tanker truck involved in a rollover accident alleged a mild traumatic brain injury with associated post-traumatic vision syndrome and post-traumatic headache. Evaluated alleged symptoms with emphasis on the plaintiff’s experts’ diagnostic methods and causal attribution of symptoms to the accident, and consulted with defense counsel to target admissibility of unreliable diagnoses made without the requisite diagnostic criteria.
Products liability and wrongful death trial involving crashworthiness of a bus accident that included multiple individuals with brain injuries and psychological injuries (Kentucky)
Defense verdict in a product liability, crashworthiness case. Numerous passengers sued after a bus accident where the driver lost control. The individuals alleged defects in the design of the bus. The accident resulted in multiple deaths and serious injuries including concussions, moderate traumatic brain injuries, and a severe traumatic brain injury with diffuse axonal injury. Plaintiffs further alleged future conditions, such as early onset dementia to begin 55 years after the accident. Most of the plaintiffs’ claims resulted in directed verdicts for the defense. The jury found for the defense on the remaining claims.
Motor coach accident involving multiple claims of alleged mild traumatic brain injuries and chronic PTSD (Utah)
Following a motor coach accident, several passengers claimed chronic post-concussion syndrome stemming from alleged concussions (also known as mild traumatic brain injuries) and PTSD. The defense focused on unravelling years of treatment by medical providers who had diagnosed TBI and related conditions without an appropriate medical basis. Settlement was reached just before deposing the plaintiffs’ main TBI/medical expert.
Defending TBI Claims, in Traumatic Brain Injury Litigation (Kenneth E. Berger eds., 2021) (co-authored)
Brandon Woodard, Greg Kendall, and Doug Rennie, The Jury's Just Not that into You: Developing Defense Counter-Narratives in TBI Litigation, Transportation Industry Defense Association, Summer Quarterly (2020)
Defense Insights into Alleged Mild Diffuse Axonal Injuries, In Transit (Jul. 2017) (co-authored)
Defending Against the Growing Trend of PTSD Claims in Aviation Cases, For the Defense (Apr. 2017) (co-authored)
Mild Traumatic Brain Injury Litigation: An Overview of Neuroimaging Techniques, For The Defense (Jun. 2016) (co-authored)
Traumatic Brain Injury: A Primer for In-House Counsel and Claims Professionals, In-House Defense Quarterly (Fall 2015) (co-authored)
Pitfalls of Oversimplified Headache Diagnosis in TBI Litigation, Brain Injury Professional (2014) (co-authored)
Brandon Woodard & Drew Lehmkuhl, The Limits of a Crystal Ball: Unpacking Life Care Planner Opinions in TBI Cases, Arkansas Trucking Association (Fayetteville, AR 2023)
Brandon Woodard & Drew Lehmkuhl, Litigating Traumatic Brain Injuries Workshop, Client Seminar (Chicago, IL 2023)
Brandon Woodard & Greg Kendall, Traumatic Brain Injuries, Client Seminar (Detroit, MI 2023)
Brandon Woodard & Greg Kendall, Traumatic Brain Injuries, Client Seminar (Charlottesville, VA 2023)
Brandon Woodard, Traumatic Brain Injuries, Client Seminar (Chandler, AZ 2022)
Brandon Woodard, Greg Kendall, & Drew Lehmkuhl, Diffusion Tensor Imaging: Moving Beyond Just Challenges to General Acceptance, Client Seminar (Webinar 2020)
Brandon Woodard & Greg Kendall, Evaluating and Defending Against Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder Claims, NAMIC Virtual Education (2020)
Inaugural Podcast: Porter Rennie Woodard Kendall’s Brandon Woodard Talks Legal Issues Surrounding Traumatic Brain Injuries (June 20, 2019)
Communicating Science in a Legal Setting: What to Expect When Called as an Expert Witness, University of Cincinnati College of Medicine (November 2018)
Mild Traumatic Brain Injury Claims: Unpacking the Science, Kentucky Defense Counsel (Webinar, Feb. 27, 2018)
Evaluating and Litigating the Mild Traumatic Brain Injury Claim, National Association of Mutual Insurance Companies, Claims Conference (Lake Buena Vista, Florida, Feb. 7, 2018)
TBI 2.0: Recent Trends and Plaintiff Strategies to Increase Case Value in Traumatic Brain Injury Litigation, Trucking Industry Defense Association Annual Seminar (Las Vegas, Nevada, Oct. 26, 2017)
Defending the Mild TBI Claim: Neuropsychology and Neuroimaging, Trucking Industry Defense Association Annual Seminar (Baltimore, Maryland, Oct. 14, 2016)
Litigating Brain Injuries in Aviation Cases (San Diego, California, Sept. 20, 2016)
Litigating Traumatic Brain Injuries, Cincinnati Bar Association (Cincinnati, Ohio, Sept. 7, 2016)
TBI: From Ph.D. to J.D., Ohio Association of Civil Trial Attorneys Personal Injury Seminar (Columbus, Ohio, Jun. 24, 2016)
A View From the Defense, North American Brain Injury Society 29th Annual Conference on Legal Issues in Brain Injury (Tampa, Florida, Apr. 9, 2016)
Effectively Defending Traumatic Brain Injury Claims, South Carolina Bar—Traumatic Brain Injury Litigation: Best Practices for Best Outcomes (Columbia, South Carolina, Oct. 23, 2015)
Generation-Y Jurors, Visual Evidence, and the “CSI Effect” in Traumatic Brain Injury Cases, continuing education course for insurance claims examiners (Cleveland, Ohio, Jul. 2015)
Introduction to Brain Injury and Neuroimaging, Arkansas Trucking Association (Rogers, Arkansas, Sept. 17, 2014)